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Ascent of Vashon Island High Point on 2011-04-16

Climber: Craig Willis

Others in Party:Victoria E.
Rufferto
Pebbles
Date:Saturday, April 16, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Vashon Island High Point
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:466 ft / 142 m

Ascent Trip Report

Prior to visiting Vashon Island, I had noticed a couple of possible discrepancies I wished to try to clarify during my visit.
-> First, the PB website shows the HP at a location on the map shown as "466", at the intersection of SW Bank Road and Thorsen Road SW near the entrance to Agren Memorial Park. However, maps do not show any contour for any point above the 20' closed-contour ranging between 440'-460' elevation in that area shown on the map, making me wonder if the "466" might be a typo. Perhaps 446' or 456', I wondered?
-> Second, another area was shown on several online resources as a possible highpoint contender further south, near the intersection of SW 204 Street and Old Mill Road SW. This HP contender was within a 20' closed-contour ranging between 440'-460' elevation.
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We visited the PB-designated HP location first. Where SW Bank Road curves southward and turns into Thorsen Road SW, there is a large gravel parking area at that intersection. Park there. The entrance to Agren Memorial Park is nearby. The road reaches its highest point at this intersection, but the road is not the highest point in that area. There are several areas and trails worth exploring. Personally, my visual surveying and readings found what appeared to be the three highest points:
-> One HP contender at a tiny grove of trees surrounded by large rocks, in front of the Park Sign (left of the entrance).
-> One HP contender at the base of a tall tree immediately right (north) of the entrance.
-> One HP contender across the street, near the inside-bend of the road, in a thick grove of evergreen trees and salal.
I personally felt like the base of the tall evergreen tree on the rightside of the park entrance was the highest point, but I covered enough ground in the area to be satisfied.
NOTE: No ground was higher than 6' above the road (i.e. indicating land above a possible unmarked 460' contour), making me seriously question if a typo is on maps. With that said, my readings showed an elevation close to 460' elevation.

We next drove south and visited the other HP contender. SW 204th Street has to be approached from the east, as its western counterpart (with the same name) is a dead-end private road near Westside Highway SW. Heading west along SW 204th Street, the road turns to dirt/gravel shortly before its intersection with Old Mill Road SW. A sign says "No Turnaround Beyond This Point", as SW 204th becomes a single-lane dead-end road (probably a long driveway). We drove further west towards signed house address "12528", but had to carefully turnaround prior to arriving at that house. Parked at forementioned intersection. No fences. HP contender in a very thick forested area. Private property with house. After visually looking around the area and checking my readings, this HP contender would likely still be ~15' lower than the northern one (near Bank/Thorsen).

FINAL ANALYSIS:
The southern HP contender area, despite being listed by LOJ and some other online resources as the true HP, in my opinion is not worth visiting. Private property, very wooded, and my readings showed it to be ~15' lower than the northern HP area. If it had been only a few feet of difference, then maybe I would suggest otherwise. With that said, I believe the northern HP area is not 466'... probably closer to 455'-460' elevation range. Again, that is just a guess on my part. Touch the various highest points near the Bank/Thorsen intersection, as forementioned, and it should be satisfactory.
Summary Total Data
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Overcast



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